Laramie cop who killed man after traffic stop has checkered history

WYOMING – Albany County Sheriff’s Office released the name of the officer involved in the fatal shooting of a 39-year-old man in Laramie last weekend.

Cpl. Derek Colling of the Sheriff’s Office has been placed on administrative leave after he shot and killed Robbie Ramirez of Laramie during a traffic stop on Sunday, November 4. Colling is a Laramie native with a checkered career in law enforcement.

Fifteen-year-old Tanner Chamberlain is shown in a video from a Taser gun as he held a knife near his mom, Evie Oquendo’s, throat before being fatally shot by police during a Clark County coroner’s inquest Friday, Nov. 6, 2009. The jury found the shooting justifiable. (Gary Thompson, Las Vegas Review Journal)

In 2006, Colling and other officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed Shawn Collins, 43, after the man pulled a gun at a gas station, according to theLas Vegas Review-Journal.

In 2009, Colling shot and killed a mentally ill 15-year-old who was holding a knife to his mother’s throat. Colling was later cleared of wrongdoing for that incident.

In 2011, Colling was accused of beating Mitchell Crooks, a freelance videographer, who was recording the officer investigating a burglary in his neighborhood. A video of the incident went viral on the Internet. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department ended up paying Crooks a reported $100,000 in settlement and fired Colling.

Colling was eventually hired by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office in 2014.

The family of Ramirez says Robbie suffered from a variant of schizophrenia and had a fear of police. They contend Colling went to high school with Robbie and knew of his condition.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming has taken an interest in the case. Sabrina King, ACLU of Wyoming policy director, stated, “Our country is devastated by the deaths and injuries of hundreds of people, many of them unarmed, at the hands of police officers. We need drastic changes in our approach to public safety nationwide and here in Wyoming. The residents of Laramie, along with the family of the Robbie Ramirez, deserve to know what happened in this latest tragic incident.”

King said the Sheriff’s Office should release body- or dash-cam evidence in the name of a transparent investigation.

“Additionally, if the officer involved has been previously involved in police shootings, the sheriff’s office must engage in a comprehensive and public review of hiring practices so Laramie residents can have some assurance this will never happen again,” King added.

Video of the incident that got Derek Colling fired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

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